Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php:3) in /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php on line 3

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php:3) in /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php on line 3
Power Outage preparation | Spokane
Power Outages

Spokane Power Companies

(800) 227-9187

Inland Power and Light
(877) 668-8243

Modern Electric Water Company
(509) 928-4540
(509) 926-9800 - Emergency

Vera Water and Power

(888) 774-8272

What You Can Do
  • Turn off all appliances you think were on before the power went out.
  • Unplug electronic equipment, including computers.

  • Leave a light or radio on as an alert to you when power has been restored.  Help repair crews know which homes have power by turning on the front porch light. 
  • After power comes back on, wait 30 minutes to turn your lights, furnace and appliances back on.  This prevents an overload on the system.  
  • If you have outdoor solar-powered lights—bring them inside the house.  Set them inside something tall, like a 2-litre bottle (you may need to steady the bottle with marbles or sand).   The next day, take your solar lights back outside to be recharged again. 

  • Outages combined with freezing cold temperatures present a dangerous situation that can result in health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those with medical conditions who rely on electricity or other services (home dialysis, oxygen, suction, breathing machines, etc.) for their health, or those without shelter or who live in a home that is poorly insulated. Technically, anyone without electricity is considered vulnerable, particularly infants and the elderly.

    "When the power is out and the weather is cold, we need our community to be proactive in protecting itself,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “For those individuals who rely on power to care for their health needs and need assistance, several agencies are prepared to help you.”

    Medically-trained volunteers are available to perform welfare checks in homes for individuals. To arrange a welfare check on yourself or a neighbor, individuals can call 2-1-1.

    Otherwise, individuals without electricity, especially those who are vulnerable, are encouraged to seek shelter with family or friends who do have electricity. If that is not an option, several community shelter options are available, with plans underway to open more. For more information, call 2-1-1.

    If individuals must stay in their homes without electricity, they are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to stay safe:

    • Use approved emergency heating equipment and have sufficient heating fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace), so you can keep at least one room livable. Be sure the room is well ventilated.

    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator. Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Deadly carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors.

    • Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are working correctly and have fresh batteries. Check your outside fuel exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed. Never use cooking equipment intended for outside use indoors as a heat source or cooking device.

    • Dress for the cold, wearing several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, scarves and other clothing to keep your entire body warm.

    • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries as part of an Emergency Kitalong with food, water and other key supplies.

    • Seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.

    • Do not call 9-1-1 just to ask for information - use 9-1-1 only for emergencies. Call 2-1-1 or applicable utility company, fire department, public health or other agencies as needed.

    • Specific to food safety, if food is unrefrigerated for more than four hours, it needs to be thrown out. During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door. Frozen food can stay cold in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).

    • For individuals with electricity, please check in on friends, family, and neighbors, particularly those most susceptible to freezing temperatures and power outages, such as seniors and those with access and functional needs. Register to receive ALERT Spokane messages at
      and follow #InlandWind on social media.

      For more local emergency preparedness information, visit the health district’s page dedicated to emergency preparedness. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips or follow them at @spokanehealth. For more info on the city’s warming shelters, click here. You can also get the latest news and information on spokanecity.org and @spokanecity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

      (Source:  Kim Papich, Spokane Regional Health District, November 2015) 

  • Power outages can cause a number of safety concerns.  During a power outage,

    • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer.
    • Even if it is dark, turn light switches and buttons on lamps or appliances to the “off” position.
    • Unplug computers and other sensitive equipment to protect them from possible surges when the power is restored.
    • Leave one lamp on, so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
    • Conserve water, especially if you use well water.
    • Never use gas ovens, gas ranges, barbecues or portable or propane heaters for indoor heating—they use oxygen and create carbon monoxide that can cause suffocation.
    • Candles can cause a fire. It's far better to use battery-operated flashlights or glow sticks for lighting.
    • Using a kerosene heater, gas lantern or stove inside the house can be dangerous. Maintain proper ventilation at all times to avoid a build up of toxic fumes, and be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector.
    • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.
      (Source:  Kim Papich, Spokane Regional Health District, November 2015) 

  • Keeping food safe.

    • If food is unrefrigerated for more than four hours, it needs to be thrown out. During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door. Frozen food can stay cold in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
    • Use and store food carefully to prevent foodborne illness when power outages make refrigeration unavailable.
    • Use foods first that can spoil most rapidly.
    • Keep doors to refrigerators and freezers closed. Your refrigerator's freezer will keep food frozen for up to a day. A separate fully-loaded freezer will keep food frozen for two days.
    • Use an ice chest packed with ice or snow to keep food cold. Buy dry ice to save frozen food. Do not handle dry ice with your bare hands. Use blocks or bags of ice to save refrigerator foods.
    • Use caution if storing food outside during winter to keep it cold. The outside temperature varies, especially in the sun. Frozen food may thaw and refrigerator food may become warm enough to grow bacteria. Food stored outside must be secured from contamination by animals.
    • If in doubt, throw it out. Throw out meat, seafood, dairy products and cooked food that does not feel cold.
    • Never taste suspect food. Even if food looks and smells fine, illness-causing bacteria may be present.
      (Source:  Kim Papich, Spokane Regional Health District, November 2015) 

What you should NOT do
  • Never touch or attempt to move downed lines.  Even the ground around a downed line can be dangerous, so stay as far away as possible and keep others away. Do not attempt to rescue someone else who has touched a downed line.

    To report a downed power line with
    Avista Utilities, call (800) 227-9187 
        (includes natural gas issues)
    Inland Power and Light Co.  (877-668-8243)
    Kootenai Electric Cooperative, call 1-877-744-1055
    Modern Electric Water Company, call (509) 926-9800
    Vera Water and Power, call (509) 924-3800
  • Never place a generator inside your house.  Always locate your generator outside, so poisonous carbon monoxide gas does not enter your home.   
  • Never use a generator to re-energize your entire house.  Only use your generator to run specific appliances; and keep it outside, so poisonous fumes do not enter the home.   
  • Never wire an emergency generator into your home's electrical system, unless there is a disconnect switch to separate generated power from your power company's distribution system.  Back feed into power lines from a generator can injure or kill a lineman working on the line. 

    For more information:  
    Spokane Department of Emergency Management
    (509) 477-7606